The prime minister has told pubs, bars and restaurants to close “as soon as they can” tonight (20 March) and not reopen, while the chancellor has announced a new grant that will cover 80% of employees’ wages.
Boris Johnson said: “Following agreement between all four nations of the UK, we are collectively telling cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight, as they reasonably can and not open tomorrow, but, to be clear, they can continue to provide take-out services.
“We are also telling nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres to close on the same timescale.”
With this news, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a job retention scheme. Any employer can apply for grant to keep paying their employees in an effort to reduce losing staff.
These grants are eligible for any business of any size, for anyone on the payroll up until 28 February 2020.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants will pay 80% of an employee’s salary up to £2,500 a month and can be backdated to 1 March 2020.